Epsom salts are a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate (named for their site of origin, a bitter saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England).
Epsom salts are an age-old natural remedy that are valued for numerous health benefits, as well as their versatility in beauty, household and garden related uses.
Often overlooked, the minerals in Epsom salts play essential roles in our body function. Magnesium is important for many systems in the body especially the muscles and nerves, especially muscle control, electrical impulses, energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins. Sulfur is essential in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and digestive enzymes that line the walls of the digestive tract.
Without even knowing, many people are deficient in magnesium. Unfortunately these days, there are two reasons why: industrial agriculture depletes magnesium from the soil leaving very little available for vegetables to absorb, leading to a diet low in magnesium. The other factor is the constant focus on getting enough calcium.
It’s a delicate dance: calcium depletes magnesium yet calcium functions best when enough magnesium is present. Trouble arises when taking a calcium supplement without adequate magnesium, which can actually cause a shortage of both nutrients. The proper ratio for optimum absorption is 2 to 1, calcium to magnesium. Yet it is common for people to have 5x as much calcium as magnesium in their bodies.
Both magnesium and sulfate are poorly absorbed through the stomach (making oral supplements ineffective), but are easily absorbed through the skin. Therefore soaking in an Epsom salt bath is the most effective and one of the easiest ways to maintain adequate levels of these minerals.
Epsom salts soothe the body, mind and soul. Relax, refresh and revive yourself in a tub full of hot water, a few cups of Epsom salts and some time to yourself.
It's more than just a relaxing bath. Epsom salts offer numerous health benefits such as relaxing the nervous system and easing stress, relieving skin conditions, soothing back pain and aching limbs, easing muscle strain, healing cuts, treating colds and congestion and drawing toxins from the body.
Please note: If you are pregnant or have any health concerns, check with your health practitioner or doctor before using Epsom salts.
Eases stress and relaxes the body
Stress drains the body of magnesium and increases levels of adrenaline. Countering this, absorbing magnesium actually lowers the effects of adrenaline and helps to produce serotonin, the mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates feelings of happiness and serenity. This helps reduce irritability, while increasing a feeling of tranquility, improving sleep and concentration and helping muscles and nerves to function properly.
Relieves pain and muscle cramps
An Epsom salts bath helps to ease pain and relieve inflammation, making it an ideal treatment of sore muscles, bronchial asthma and migraine headaches. It also can be used to heal cuts, reduce soreness from childbirth or offer relief to aching, tired feet.
Helps muscles and nerves function properly
Epsom salts can help regulate electrolytes in your body, ensuring proper functioning of the muscles, nerves and enzymes. It also helps maintain a proper ratio of magnesium and calcium, which serves as a main conductor of the electric impulses in your body.
Eliminates toxins from the body
The sulfates in Epsom salts help flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances. The skin is a highly porous membrane and adding the right minerals to your bathwater triggers a process called reverse osmosis, which actually draws salt out of your body taking harmful toxins along with it.
How to use Epsom salts
For general use, add 2 cups of Epsom salts to a warm bath and soak for at least 12 minutes, 3x a week for the best results; or as needed for acute conditions.
For your skin
To moisturise your skin, add ½ cup olive oil to the bath (optional), but avoid soap as it will interfere with the effectiveness of the salts. It’s always best to rest afterwards if possible.
Exfoliate dead skin: In the shower or bath, mix a handful of Epsom salts with a tablespoon of bath or olive oil and rub all over your wet skin to exfoliate and soften. Rinse thoroughly.
Exfoliating face cleanser: To clean your face and exfoliate skin at the same time, mix a half-teaspoon of Epsom salts with your regular cleanser. Gently massage into skin and rinse with cold water.
Dislodge blackheads: Add a teaspoon of Epsom salts and 3 drops iodine into a half cup of boiling water. Apply this mixture to the blackheads with a cotton ball.
Remove foot odour: Mix a half cup of Epsom salts in warm water and soak your feet for 10 minutes to remove bad odour, sooth achy feet, and soften rough skin.
Hair volumiser: Combine equal parts deep conditioner and Epsom salts and warm in a pan. Work the warm mixture through your hair and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
Athlete’s foot: Soak feet in an Epsom salts bath to help relieve the symptoms of athlete’s foot.
Remove splinters: Soak affected skin area in an Epsom salts bath to draw out the splinter.
Treat toenail fungus: Soak your affected toes in hot water mixed with a handful of Epsom salts three times a day.
Soothe sprains and bruises: Add 2 cups Epsom salts to a warm bath and soak to reduce the pain and swelling of sprains and bruises.
Ease discomfort of gout: Ease the discomfort of gout and reduce inflammation by adding 2-3 teaspoons of Epsom salts into a basin and immersing the affected foot/joint. The water should be as hot as it is comfortable. Soak for about 30 minutes.
Clean bathroom tiles: Mix equal parts Epsom salts and liquid dish detergent and use as a scrub on bathroom tiles.
Prevent slugs: Sprinkle Epsom salts on or near interior entry points to prevent slugs.
As a hand wash: Mix Epsom salts with a carrier oil and keep by the sink for an effective hand wash.
In the garden
Fertilise your house plants: Most plants need nutrients like magnesium and sulfur to stay in good health and Epsom salts make the primary nutrients in most plant foods (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) more effective. Sprinkle Epsom salts once weekly to help nourish your housesplants, flowers and vegetables.
Keep your lawn green: Magnesium sulfate crystals, when added to the soil, provide vital nutrients that help prevent yellowing leaves and the loss of green colour (magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule) in plants. Add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts to 4L of water and sprinkle on your lawn to keep the grass healthy and green.
Insecticide spray: Use Epsom salts on your lawn and in your garden to safely and naturally get rid of plant pests.